Economics Dictionary of Arguments

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I 136
Veil of Ignorance/society/Rawls: this is about excluding contingent peculiarities when establishing a new form of society. To this end, the parties are to remain behind a veil of ignorance in the >initial situation of a society to be established, with regard to alternatives concerning their own individual case.
I 137
This is intended to ensure that the principles in question are chosen on the basis of general considerations. Certain facts are said to be unknown:
No one knows their place in society, class affiliation or social status, or their endowment with goods, intelligence, strength, and so on. Even his individual psychology, such as his propensity to optimism or pessimism, risk appetite or affiliation to a certain generation.
On the other hand, general facts about human society should be known: people understand political problems and economic theory, social organization and the laws of the human psyche.
I 138
There should be no restrictions on general information, i. e. on general laws and theories. ((s) Rawls assumes here that there are psychological laws, especially laws of moral psychology. (DavidsonVsRawls: VsPsychological Laws: see Anomalous Monism/Davidson).
Initial Condition/problems/Rawls: it must be clarified that proposals belong to the range of permissible alternatives and general consequences of proposed principles must be known.
I 139
The initial state is not a general assembly, that would be too much of a strain on the imagination. On the other hand, it is important that it does not matter who accepts the perspective of the initial state or when he does it. This is what the veil of ignorance is supposed to guarantee: the information available should be relevant but always the same.
VsRawls: one can argue that the veil is irrational. RawlsVsVs: it is about ensuring that everyone can be convinced by the same arguments. Then people's points of view can be picked out by chance, the other people will behave in the same way. In addition, it is possible to accept an arbitrator who declares a ban on coalition, but this is superfluous if one assumes that the consultations of the parties are the same. Since no one has any further information, he cannot adjust the situation to his personal advantage.
I 140
The only exception: an egoist could basically refuse to make his savings available to posterity. He could decide to do that without having any further information. The question of intergenerational justice must therefore be tackled elsewhere.
I 141
Unanimity/conformity: in the initial state it is not a matter of agreement on concrete random facts (which are not known anyway). Otherwise, only trivial problems could be solved.
I 142
Through the veil of Ignorance, the two principles of justice (see Principles/Rawls) are preferred to the criterion of usefulness.
I 143
Rationality/Initial state: even in the initial state, where individuals have only general information, we assume that they strive to have more of it than less in relation to primary public goods (e. g. freedoms, infrastructure, etc.).
I 166
Veil of Ignorance/Rawls: there is no problem with the assumption that newcomers arriving at the initial situation, which of course have less information. The veil of ignorance erases every basis for distinguishing different levels of information.


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Rawl I
J. Rawls
A Theory of Justice: Original Edition Oxford 2005


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